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Amazing. I never knew that headless chickens did so much squawking before they die.

A poll last week put Mr Kennedy on just 11% as the public's favoured choice for MP.

PM surely... but this speech will not make it rise in any event


Does this man never read his Hichiker's Guide.

This may shore up his support for a while but if the Conservatives seem more reasonable then this will just be seen as a knee-jerk outburst - which it is.

Thank you James B. I'll correct to PM!

Don't, it was fine as it was!

I think that the fact that Kennedy feels he has to _stress_ that the Lib Dems are the "true" environmentalist party speaks for itself, really.

Cameron and the media have put Kennedy on the back foot and it'll be interesting to see what his next mood is. Probably another hissy-fit like this one, to be honest.

Peter Ainsworth - New Tory environment spokesman has just responded to Charles Kennedy with a "these things are too important for party politics"-style putdown:

“Charles Kennedy’s comments are regrettable in view of our recent efforts to achieve a cross party consensus on climate change. I look forward to continuing a positive dialogue with the Liberal Democrats’ environment spokesman, Norman Baker, and with politicians from all parties who are prepared to put the saving the planet at the very top of their agenda.”

Excellent put down. However, Kennedy's wild swing at us should warn the Party that we can't abandon our green stance without looking utterly unprincipled and opportunistic. We've now got to live the dream - or pay the price for inconsistency.

"New Tory environment spokesman has just responded to Charles Kennedy with a "these things are too important for party politics"-style putdown."

Without wanting to revert to my pre-06/12 stance too much, this seems to be a nod towards the Blair approach when somebody challenges him on an important issue, where at the slightest hint of somebody questioning him he dismisses it with the 'too important to be used as a political football' line? In this instance, it's probably justified, but I hope it doesn't become commonplace.

I also think that Peter Ainsworth (my MP) and Oliver Letwin need to be very wary of the cuddly embrace of the likes of Norman Baker. To date Mr Baker has struck me as the shires version of Simon Hughes. He is certainly no "Orange Book" Lib Dem. Indeed David Laws rebuked Baker when he put forward the bright idea that taxes on low cost airlines should be upped dranatically.

On the contrary, using a conciliatory style is the perfect political weapon.

It makes us look reasonable and "anti-political" which appeals to normal people rather than political hacks. It makes us look concerned with the issues and improving lives rather than scoring cheap Westminster political points. It makes the other person look hysterical. Finally it builds up credibility, so that when we come to a really big issue we want to disagree on (the successor to Iraq??) we had the public credibility to use an abrasive tone, because having become used to our conciliatory tones people will understand that we use this angry tone infrequently so the issue must be important and we must be in the right.

I hope to see much, much more of it

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